Friday, 27 April 2012

Daddy - the old time preacher man

In this post I would like to share a bit more about my Dad. He was born in 1925 in Mexico but came to Canada with his parents as a very young baby. He spent most of his growing up years in the Kleefeld area of Manitoba. My Dad and his family were also among the group of Mennonites that moved to Paraguay in the late 1940's where they hoped to find a peaceful life.  I mentioned this move to Paraguay in an ealier post about my Mom. My Dad was among an early group of men that flew to Paraguay to prepare the way for the others that would come by ship later. He quite liked the adventure of going to Paraguay and had many fond memories of the time he spent out there and he even learned to speak a bit of Spanish.  After coming back to Canada, he worked for an English farmer (in the Carman area) which he also enjoyed very much. He married my mother in 1951.
My parents started farming in a very small way and gradually built the farm to a more moderate size. They started with just few acres of land and milked a few cows, sold the cream etc.  The Lord was faithful and provided all that was necessary to raise the six girls that were born to them.
My Dad always knew that the Lord had placed a calling on his life to be a preacher of the gospel. The actual call came in January of 1976 at the small country church that we attended. He was ordained as a preacher of the gospel in April of 1976 and began preaching immediately thereafter. He continued to farm on the side with the time that was available to him. The church did not provide a salary to the preachers so continuing to farm  was the right thing to do. The church denomination was involved with was is known as circuit preaching. There were churches of our denomination scattered throughout southern Manitoba and so my Dad was put on a schedule that would take him to each of these churches by rotation and thereby preaching in a different location every Sunday morning. He would spend many hours during the week preparing the sermon he would preach on Sunday. The drive to the church for any given Sunday morning ( other than our own local home church) would take about an hour or longer depending where the location of the church was that he was scheduled at that particular morning. This meant an early start to the morning chores. The cows  needed to be milked and fed before getting ready for church. It was very plain to see that Dad loved preaching. He preached his last sermon in January of 2002 at a little church at the village called Stuartburn.  At this time we already knew that Dad was not well, but we did not know that it was cancer. My husband and I took our family to hear Dad and Grandpa preach his last sermon. Our children were ages 9 and 9 and 5 and 3 when they heard Grandpa preach the last time. I don't remember much about the sermon but I know he talked some about the terrorist attacks that had happened in New York on September 11, 2001 which was just a few months earlier and that laid heavy on his heart.
I hope to post more in the next little while about my Dad, and his final message to the family. 

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